Obamacare Is the Worst-Case Scenario | National Review Online

I’m not usually up this early. Ate a lot of carbs last evening, paying the price all night. And today. Probably tomorrow, from the course of events.

 

Enough about me. This is a nice summary of thoughts on Obamacare:

…What do we have to look forward to? Obamacare in effect outlaws traditional insurance and substitutes in its place a mandatory system of prepaid health care administered by the kind and gentle souls who run insurance companies, which is in fact in many ways similar to the mandatory health-savings accounts in Singapore — minus the property rights, wealth building, heritability, efficiency, and consumer choice. Likewise, Obamacare is in some ways similar to the Swiss system, but without the downward price pressure associated with high out-of-pocket expenses, and, as we have seen in recent weeks, also minus the competence and efficiency. As they say in Switzerland: Ich be chrank.

And it is worth remembering that under Obamacare there will still be millions of Americans with no health-insurance coverage, while many (and possibly most) of those added to the coverage rolls will simply be given Medicaid cards,…

via Obamacare Is the Worst-Case Scenario | National Review Online.

Speechless, I am.

Obama’s Broken Promise of Better Government Through Technology – Businessweek

The top part of the article is typical Klein (intent is all that mattered, not execution, which he only allows to one party), but his writing about government in general and government IT in particular is interesting:

The saga of healthcare.gov has been a symphony of government inefficiency. The effort, directly overseen by the IT department of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, involved no fewer than 55 contractors. The process was thick with lawyers and political interference. In violation of current best practices in the software world, the code was kept almost entirely secret; other engineers weren’t able to point out its flaws, and it wasn’t tested rigorously enough. The Obama administration has been assailed for not calling in Silicon Valley’s top minds to collaborate, but that misses the fundamental problem: The best coders in the Valley would’ve never agreed to work under such deadening, unpleasant conditions.

There are people in Washington who share Bracken’s views, but their struggle against bureaucratic inertia can seem Sisyphean. “Government becomes really afraid of failure, which is a bit ironic, as this ends up leading to failure,” says Clay Johnson, a technologist who was one of the White House’s presidential innovation fellows. “But that fear of failure leads them to only want to work with known quantities, and known quantities mean contractors who’ve done this work in the past. That puts them with a group of entrenched vendors who haven’t really had to compete in the world of technology.”

That fear of failure has been institutionalized in the way the federal government awards contracts. The complex, arcane process favors those companies that devote resources to mastering it and repels the Silicon Valley startups the government desperately needs. “I realized I could figure out how to develop these very complex, very new software programs, or I could figure out how to contract with the government,” says Trotter, who worked on health IT projects with the Veterans Administration. “And so I chose to do the thing that was innovative.”

via Obama’s Broken Promise of Better Government Through Technology – Businessweek.

The front end of the website will eventually get fixed, then the back end. Then we’re going to wait for the employer mandate to hit. All this market disruption was just the self-insured, a very small piece of the health insurance pie.

 

Peter Schiff Blasts “The Website Is Fixable, Obamacare Isn’t!” | Zero Hedge

Wait, wait, this was supposed to bend the cost curve Down…

It is also ironic that high-deductible, catastrophic plans are precisely what young people should be buying in the first place. They are inexpensive because they provide coverage for unlikely, but expensive, events. Routine care is best paid for out-of-pocket by value conscious consumers. But Obamacare outlaws these plans, in favor of what amounts to prepaid medical treatment that shifts the cost of services to taxpayers. In such a system, patients have no incentive to contain costs. Since the biggest factor driving health care costs higher in the first place has been the over use of insurance that results from government-provided tax incentives, and the lack of cost accountability that results from a third-party payer system, Obamacare will bend the cost curve even higher. The fact that Obamacare does nothing to rein in costs while providing an open-ended insurance subsidy may be good news for hospitals and insurance companies, but it’s bad news for taxpayers, on whom this increased burden will ultimately fall.

via Peter Schiff Blasts “The Website Is Fixable, Obamacare Isn’t!” | Zero Hedge.

Lack of skin in the game.

The Onion to the Rescue

Remember this? (From this blog):

Heroic State Attorneys General band together to force lawful commerce to stop, because they don’t like it.

July 13, 2013 by GruntDoc

So, 22 State Attorneys General sent a letter to Urban Outfitters demanding they stop selling gag merchandise described as their ‘Prescription line’, which includes the terrifically dangerous items of

glasses, coasters, mugs, drink holders and related products that mimic prescription pill bottles and prescription pads.

via Heroic State Attorneys General band together to force lawful commerce to stop, because they don’t like it..

Want to guess what I found at The Onion’s online store?

Yep.

The mug that causes death by prescription drug OD’s.

2013-10-23_19-52-37

I knew I liked The Onion.

Assessing the Exchanges | National Review Online

Read and weep. My comments in [brackets]:

…[interviews with medical insurance policy-type reps in Washington]

One key worry is based on the fact that what they’re facing is not a situation where it is impossible to buy coverage but one where it is possible but very difficult to buy coverage. That’s much worse from their point of view, because it means that only highly motivated consumers are getting coverage. People who are highly motivated to get coverage in a community-rated insurance system are very likely to be in bad health. The healthy young man who sees an ad for his state exchange during a baseball game and loads up the site to get coverage—the dream consumer so essential to the design of the exchange system—will not keep trying 25 times over a week if the site is not working [1]. The person with high health costs and no insurance will [2]. The exchange system is designed to enable that sick person to get coverage, of course, but it can only do that if the healthy person does too [3]. The insurers don’t yet have a clear overall sense of the risk profile of the people who are signing up, but the circumstantial evidence they have is very distressing to them [4]. The danger of a rapid adverse selection spiral is much more serious than they believed possible this summer [5]. They would love it if the administration could shut down the exchange system, at least the federal one, until the interface problems can be addressed. But they know this is impossible [6].

via Assessing the Exchanges | National Review Online.

A terrifically scary article (read it all ™), but this paragraph has so much implied information in it it jumped out as needing some amplification.

1: Why would he? He’s actuarially bulletproof, and has as much need of medical insurance as he does a 401k (unemployment joke), but seriously: this youngster is the basis for paying the ACA bills. If the young and healthy and unlikely to need medical insurance don’t sign up the ACA insurance house of cards collapses (see next):

2: Why wouldn’t they? This is the group the ACA is aimed at, those who can’t get insurance at all, or who have it (Cobra, etc), but for this group insurance is prohibitively expensive. Were I in their shoes I’d be hitting this site 18 hours a day and not quitting until I got insurance and a subsidy. Hint, this group is very to horrifically expensive, and require their costs to be spread far and wide for insurance to work.

3: To belabor the point, insurance companies don’t print money to pay bills, they transfer money from the payments of those paying for insurance who don’t wind up using it to the bills of those who do. Therefore not enough insured paying (but not using) the insurance company runs out of money, then the insured aren’t insured when the company goes broke. That’s ungood.

4: Insurance companies understand medical cost risk like no other group, and were this good news for them (non-distressing news) they’d be singing this to the heavens/news, as a way to sign up the [1] group. Then it’d be ‘cool!’, which would cascade into more young/well signups.

5: This is inexplicable. Insurance companies abhor risk, this was a completely foreseeable risk in an unknown situation, unless there were some significant assurances from On High that Nothing Can Go Wrong. Which they would be dumb to just swallow whole. This part of the mechanism of bargaining still bugs me, as I don’t have an explanation for why an entire, smart and profitable industry would buy into a scheme that could destroy it quickly and painlessly. Remember this, they walked into the ACA eyes wide open.

6. It’s hard to stop a process bought into under a combination of duress and greed, either objection draws credibility into question.

No secret, I’m totally against (and aghast at) the ACA. That said, it’s more than curious a nation that put men on the moon with slide rules cannot make an insurance marketplace with roughly a half a billion dollars and a three year head start.

Interesting times.

 

 

 

 

Why we should be very wary of using clot busting drugs in CVA

Why we should be very wary of using clot busting drugs in CVA.

A concise treatise on the problems with TPa. Well Done!